"It was an honor and a
privilege," Mike Klonowski, PT, DPT, PCS, said Wednesday morning
reflecting on his attendance at the State of the Union (SOTU) address Tuesday
Klonowski attended the SOTU address
as an invited guest of Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL). He was the senator's primary
physical therapist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago following a
stroke in January 2012 that paralyzed the left side of Kirk's body.
Being among so many of the nation's
leaders—those on the floor of the House of Representatives and in the House
gallery—was a "unique experience," Klonowski said.
Certain parts of the address were
well received by all attendees. In particular, the audience came together to
cheer the president's call for advancements in education, particularly in
science and math. "We have seen how clinical research can improve care and
patient outcomes on RIC’s new recovery unit and AbilityLab, where Sen Kirk was
treated. Embracing science and innovation is how we lead the world into
the future," said Klonowski.
Before the address, Klonowski
visited with Kirk in his office. "He's not shying away from his stroke
recovery," said Klonowski, noting the odds the senator has overcome and
how his spirit and drive have allowed him to return to a high level of
function. "He's more and more like himself."
"All the hard work Mark did in
rehab is paying off," Klonowski said. "He returned to work better
prepared [to take on his role in the Senate]."